Some whānau are falling between the gaps of service providers

By Te Kuru o te Marama Dewes

After a successful month with the Kōanga Festival, Te Pou Theatre in West Auckland decided to re-invest their humble profits back into the community.

One of the recipients of generosity who was also there to help prepare the food parcels, Turei Puru of Ngāti Awa says, "It is pretty hard for us, for not just me, there's a few people out there that needs help too, you know, it's hard for a few of us Māori people to get help."

Behind the initiative is Tainui Tukiwaho of Te Pou Theatre. He says, "I decided to reconsider what Te Pou, we're the only Māori theatre, what point of difference we can have from all of the other theatres and one of the major points of difference or what we try to do is use kaupapa or tikanga Māori to move through the mahi that we're doing and part of that is taking care of our hapū or iwi."

Tukiwaho saw the need on the Pay It Forward - West Auckland Facebook page and thought Te Pou Theatre could help out and feed those who are starving. 

"We put our own post up and a lot of whānau got in touch with us. Those whānau ranges from a koro who's 75 who's used up his credits with other places and can't get kai and that's from one person to a whānau of nine where there's parents and seven children and they’re just struggling to feed all the kids at the moment," explains Tukiwaho.

Chris Martin of Te Pou Theatre says some whānau are falling between the gaps of service providers.

"A lot of the families that we're delivering to today are a little bit whakamā (shy) about their processes that they need to go through to be able to get food like showing bank accounts, not saying that their being dishonest, but they're just a bit shy about it."

Tukiwaho acknowledges that although it won't solve the wider problem, it all helps.

Turei Puru is grateful for the support. He says "It's just good to hear that there's someone out there to help us out when people need the help."

If you want to join these initiatives, seek the Pay it Forward page for your area on Facebook.